UK Scholarly Communications Licence: What it is, and why it matters for the Arts & Humanities | Royal Historical Society
ab1630's bookmarks 2018-03-03
"Introduction: Many British universities are currently considering adopting the United Kingdom Scholarly Communications Licence (UK-SCL). What is UK-SCL, and how will it affect you? In response to a number of enquiries the Council of the Royal Historical Society (RHS) has prepared this guide and discussion document, which we hope will enable historians and colleagues in cognate disciplines to engage fully with what has become an increasingly sensitive set of issues.
For many historians the issues raised by the UK-SCL, as with earlier debates around the relationship between UK funding bodies and Open Access, will appear to be distant from their intellectual concerns. However, institutional (or sector-wide) adoption of UK-SCL will have a direct impact on UK research and publication practices in and beyond the university sector (including for historians, for example where universities intersect with e.g. museums--witness Open Access PhD deposit rules for AHRC collaborative doctoral students). It is vital that historians appreciate the significance of what is under discussion, and the specific implications UK-SCL adoption may have for History/Arts & Humanities authors, students, research, and the dissemination and use of academic scholarship.
To that end, this document provides an explanation of what UK-SCL is, briefly sketches the context and chronology of its development, provides definitions and a glossary of key terms needed to understand the operation of UK-SCL, offers a bibliography for further reference and explores some potential implications of UK-SCL for Historians and Arts & Humanities constituencies in particular....
Conclusions: Modifications to UK-SCL may of course mitigate some of the issues raised above. Most universities are promising that waivers may be granted to those who cannot publish in their chosen journals under UK-SCL. However, as yet there are no guarantees that waivers will be freely granted upon request (which is the case at Harvard, the ostensible model for this new system: at Harvard participation is voluntary, and waivers freely available), although various central negotiations are in train. The significant financial and managerial-compliance imperatives driving adoption of UK-SCL may well encourage university libraries to push hard for universal adoption of UK-SCL in the near future.
Colleagues may recall that many of the issues we raise here around the UK- SCL were discussed openly in policy debates when earlier REF mandates were introduced, and significant changes were then wrought (reflected in the conciliatory overall approach of HEFCE to these complex issues). Like the RHS, many Arts and Humanities academics support the principles of Open Access publication, and are eager to find sustainable ways to facilitate the broadest dissemination possible of their research. But as presented by its advocates to date, the UK-SCL is a blunt instrument with the potential to impact our teaching and research as well as the peer-reviewed journals which disseminate our scholarship. Given the intrinsic character of humanities research and argument, any one-size-fits-all solution that recognizes both the very complex existing protocols that govern the communication of research and the needs of researchers working in different disciplines will inevitably be problematic, and require open, informed discussion prior to implementation and/or modification...."